The Minneapolis band offers a fresh take on Django Reinhardt-inspired swing. Info
The Minneapolis jazz quartet Mississippi Hot Club took shape in 2012, when lead guitarist and pianist, Joshua Parlanti, was inspired by Romani jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt to move away from the folk music and redirect his attention towards jazz and swing. Nowadays, this hot-club ensemble still pays homage to Reinhardt's work, covering his pieces with their own eclectic maneuvers intermixed with original tracks. By varying the tempo and mood of the songs they play, Mississippi Hot Club cater their sets to either a dancing or listening crowd, depending on the venue.
The band's 2017 release, Swing Cities, includes a repertoire of jazz standards mostly written or at one point recorded by Reinhardt. Beginning the album with a popular Django original, "Swing 42," the quartet demonstrates their mastery of the genre with a pop-focused flair. Violinist Alissa Jacobsen and lead guitarist Parlanti share the melodic foreground, trading off solos. On Reinhardt's 1941 recording of the same song, the lead guitar takes the first solo and the violin solo follows; in Mississippi Hot Club's version, the instruments take the opposite order and give the swing a higher register and enhance the smoother feel. The second to last track, "Bei Dir War Es Immer So Schön," is a Reinhardt adaptation of German jazz pianist Theo Mackeben's original song, initially written for an operetta. Rhythm guitarist lan Stenlund (a former Madisonian and a founder of the great noise-rock band Kitty Rhombus) slows down the swing a bit here, allowing Mississippi Hot Club to give the track a romantic spin. Replacing the trumpet in the original track with Parlanti on piano, the group highlights the breadth and depth of their grasp on the genre, transforming early 20th century jazz into fresh, accessible swing. —Katie Richards